Muslim leaders to ISIS: Return to 'religion of mercy'
MANILA, Philippines – In an unprecedented move, Muslim leaders in the United States published a letter against the Islamic State (ISIS) to refute its ideology, and urged it to repent and return to the “religion of mercy.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), along with the Fiqh Council of North America, cited classical Islamic texts that reject the murder of innocent people, including journalists and aid workers.
“Islam is mercy and its attributes are merciful,” CAIR said in its open letter signed by 120 Islamic scholars and Muslim leaders around the world, and released Wednesday, September 24.
CAIR explained: “The Prophet (peace be upon him), who was sent as a mercy for all the worlds, summarized a Muslim's dealings with others by saying: 'He who shows no mercy, will not be shown mercy'; and: 'Have mercy and you will be shown mercy.' But, as can be seen from everything mentioned, you have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture, and murder. As elucidated, this is a great wrong and an offense to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world.”
“Reconsider all your actions; desist from them; repent from them; cease harming others and return to the religion of mercy,” the group said.
The letter came as US President Barack Obama appealed to the world “to join in this effort” to fight ISIS. (READ: Philippines offers help in US war against ISIS)
'Not just un-Islamic'
In its letter, CAIR included 24 basic points to show that ISIS, as CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad states in an article for Time, is “not just un-Islamic” but “anti-Islamic.”
The points against ISIS include the following:
It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent
It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers
Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose, and without the right rules of conduct
It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief
It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat – in any way – Christians or any "People of the Scripture"
It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert
It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights
It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights
It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy
It is forbidden in Islam to torture people
It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead
It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God
Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray
It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims
Muslim voices against ISIS
Awad said the letter aims to reach “those who have joined or may consider joining ISIS or similar extremist groups, as well as all those who are led to believe the falsehood that ISIS in any way represents Islamic beliefs or practices.”
The letter is open to more signatures from around the world.
At the same time, other Muslims have also launched their own campaigns against ISIS.
In London, for instance, the advocacy group Active Change Foundation (ACF) launched an online campaign with the hashtag #notinmyname, to fight the Islamic extremists' “ideology of hate.”
“Islam teaches peace, respect, and love. ISIS is hiding behind a false Islam. It’s nothing to do with what we stand for. Tell ISIS that they can’t murder in your name,” the group said.
ISIS, which declared a caliphate in a region straddling the Iraq-Syria border, has beheaded two US journalists and a British aid worker.
Various countries, including the Philippines, have slammed ISIS. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com